Many people are surprised to learn how broad the insurance coverage is that is provided by their homeowners or Comprehensive General Liability( CGL) insurance policies. If you have been sued you should check to see if your insurance policy will provide a lawyer to defend you.
In order to understand insurance law, it is useful to understand insurance first. Insurance is a contract in which one party (the “insured”) pays money (called a premium) and the other party promises to reimburse the first for certain types of losses (illness, property damage, or death) if they occur. Insurance law falls into three major categories. First, the insurance company will hire lawyers to represent the insured in case she is sued for something related to her insurance contract. These are known as “insurance defense attorneys.” For example, an automobile insurance company will hire an attorney to represent an insured driver when she gets sued for causing another driver’s injuries. The second category of insurance law helps insured people determine when an insurance company must pay a claim. Third, insurance companies typically hire attorneys to make sure the company complies with all applicable laws and regulations, which can vary by state.
Insurance defense attorneys are attorneys that have contracted with insurance companies. Some of these offices work exclusively with insurance companies, so individuals are usually unable to hire these attorneys on their own. However, some insurance companies allow their insured to pick their own attorney, which may allow those individuals to hire otherwise unavailable insurance defense attorneys. Insurance defense attorneys work to zealously represent the insured. The insured (policy holder) does not pay the attorney out of pocket, and many clients have concerns that the attorney is actually working in the best interest of the insurance company. If an insurance defense attorney represents you, be sure you understand everything that happens in your case, and do not be afraid to ask questions.